Csis Essay

1773 words - 7 pages

INTRODUCTION The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) is responsible for safeguarding Canada against activities or persons who could pose a threat to national security. These threats include terrorists activities, espionage activities or foreign influenced activities in Canada. The CSIS is a civilian Service that gets its roots from the RCMP. While the Service has the ability to use very intrusive powers, it must balance these powers with the rights and freedoms of persons living in a democratic society. This paper will outline the duties CSIS performs and why Canada needs a domestic security intelligence service.BRIEF HISTORY Canada did not always have a civilian security intelligence service like the CSIS. The first sign that Canada needed an organization or agency to collect intelligence was during the late 1930's between the world wars. It was the RCMP who first assumed this role in 1939 when there was a very small number of RCMP officers involved in monitoring threats to national security. It was not until 1945 with the defection of Igor Gouzenko a Russian cipher clerk did the Canadian government realize the extent of espionage operations going on in Canada. It was from the information provided by Gouzenko that the government realized the extent of espionage activities taking place in Canada. It showed that the Russians were interested in stealing military, scientific and technological information by whatever means possible. Just as the Second World War was winding down the "Cold War" was just beginning for Canada and other western countries around the world. The 1960's provided new challenges for the RCMP which had created a new section to deal with security intelligence issues. This section became known as the RCMP Security Service. These new challenges included domestic political violence in the form of the Front de liberation (FLQ) in Quebec. The FLQ used bombings, kidnappings and assassination to try and achieve their political objectives. Other issues such as the deployment of nuclear weapons on Canadian soil and foreign influenced activities in Canada required that the government have the necessary information on which to base decisions to counter these growing threats to national security.The RCMP Security Service continued to fulfil the role of a security intelligence service and came under review by two separate Royal Commissions. The Mackenzie Commission in 1969 and the McDonald Commission in 1977 reviewed the activities of the RCMP Security Service and recommended that a civilian service would be in a better position to carry out security intelligence functions and the RCMP should deal with criminal matters only. Finally, in 1984 the government of the day passed Bill C-157 in June and the CSIS was officially born on July 16, 1984. The CSIS Act also created a Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) which is responsible for reviewing the CSIS and providing an annual report to the government.THE CSIS MANDATE The CSIS...

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